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Contested Site: Archives and the City

October 22 – November 16

Vernissage + Publication Launch:

Thursday, November 1, 7–9 p.m.

Curatorial statement

Contested Site: Archives and the City is a peer-reviewed exhibition constructed as a complementary discursive engagement with the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) conference being hosted by Concordia University this fall. The exhibition highlights the emerging phenomenon of research/creation, which is redefining institutions, pedagogy, funding agencies and artistic practice in a reflexive manner, as perhaps a contested site itself.

The parallels and distinctions between artists’ practices and the responsive fields that surround them are complex, due in part to the differing valuation afforded to each. The works on offer here are primary documents that do not illustrate or expand upon rhetorical concerns, but instead call to the imagination and set in motion experience as indivisible from thought. The exhibition framework is discursive, laying bare the networks, individuals, and communities that collectively construct the perceived whole, while concurrently amplifying the distinct methodologies and media required to do so. To this end, the exhibition is comprised of three distinct methods of publication—gallery exhibition, resource centre, and a boxed set of publications titled, LES CAHiERS. The three sites have been employed as a method of recognizing distinctions within and between practices, and the media specificity of each terrain. While the academic language supporting equivalency within research/creation exists, the site in this expanded field is still one of persistent negotiation.

About this exhibition

Curatorial Team:

  • Christopher Moore (Associate Professor, Department of Design and Computation Arts)
  • Jake Moore (Director, FOFA Gallery)

Exhibiting Artists:


York Corridor Vitrines

Main Gallery

Resource Centre

Ste-Catherine Street Vitrine

Sculpture Garden Courtyard

FOFA Gallery Atrium

Resource centre

The resource centre performs as a space of mediation between works intended for exhibition and a living archive of ephemera, notations, and supplementary materials that constitute an artist’s praxis. These documents and media artifacts extend the temporal life of the works on display, representing both the germinal stages of development, as well as the articulated products of public dissemination. Visitors to the centre are invited to activate the space, completing the inexplicit curatorial narrative, and positioning the work according to an idiosyncratic network of associations. Through discovery and investigation, and privileging the immediacy of lived experience, we wish to catalyze a process of research for all who enter this site.

LES CAHiERS publication

LES CAHiERS, further extend the exhibition’s temporality and shift the site of reception to one of your own choosing. This collection of small format volumes presents text, notations, and ephemera as works in and of themselves. The publications are not framing documents or responses to artistic production, nor validation of a methodology, they are but one relational component of the discursive praxis of research/creation.

Publication design:
Pata Macedo (Part-time instructor, Department of Design and Computation Arts)

Publication production team:
Tina Carlisi, (MA student, art education), Joshua Fourney (MA student, Individualized Program), Jacquelyn Hébert (MFA student, studio arts), Christiana Myers (FOFA Gallery intern, funded by a New Brunswick Arts Council grant), Kyle Goforth (BFA student, design)

Concurrent programming

Beyond the vernissage and publication launch, there are various events that take place concurrent with the exhibtion. See below for more information:

At FOFA Gallery

Emmelyne Pornillos/Candice Tarnowski: Ongoing Project Research

FOFA Gallery Resource Centre

  • Wednesdays, October 31, November 7 and 14, 1–2 p.m.
  • Thursdays, November 8 and 15, 6–7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 14, 1–2 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 15, 6–7 p.m.

The project, titled Order, was conceived last April and is the second collaboration between Emmelyne Pornillos and Candice Tarnowski that investigates religious orders in Québec. The first was the production of an event marking the significance of the Jesuit-established Loyola Chapel as a contemporary sacred architecture. From this project emerged parallels in our personal narratives and a mutual interest in how gestures of service and care are practiced by women, the potential overlap in the  daily domestic and professional practices of members of religious Orders and of artists and designers, and how these practices take form and function within specific architectures and spaces.

For the Contested Site Resource Centre, Emmelyne and Candice have transported a bookshelf containing many of their Grey Nuns textual materials to the reading room where they will continue research for their project Order. Couched in this they will give two readings (aloud!) of excerpts taken from books in their shelf.

Paths to Knowledge: A Performance by Mélanie Binette

EV 14th Floor

  • Friday, November, 1 p.m and 8 p.m.

Paths to Knowledge is a site-specific performance that questions our relation to knowledge, the institution, and the city.

How do the body, the imagination and memory interact with each other to build the spectator’s experience during a site-specific performance? How do we attend to the world in the context of reception? And how is it possible to evaluate experience, which can be singular and communal all at once? My research interrogates the power of testimonies for documenting and transmitting performance.

Mélanie Binette is an MA student in the Individualized Program, as well as director of the Montréal based site-specific theatre company Théâtre Nulle Part.

* Participants will be led to a specific Concordia space and will not be sitting—please wear comfortable shoes. Gather at the elevator lobby on the Engineering side of the 14th floor of the EV building. Please arrive ON TIME.

Contesting Research-Creation: Challenges in and to Institutionalizing Creativity

FOFA Gallery

  • Tuesday, November 6, 5–7 p.m.

As the notion(s) of research-creation develop and become institutionalized (in ourselves, in our practices, in our organizations), it becomes necessary to explore what kind of support the construct gives us, and what kind of barriers it puts up. What kinds of knowledge does research-creation facilitate, and how do they fit (or not) within existing institutional frameworks? Ultimately, is this institutionalization affecting our practices, and if so, what are the futures of both our work processes and of the concept of research-creation itself? This discussion is aimed at engaging the extended Concordia community in these questions while exploring some of the ways that the processes of research-creation are unfolding in the realms of art, critical studies, media, technology, sensory studies, and food.

Panelists: Lynn Hughes, Shauna Janssen, Louis Perreault, David Szanto
Facilitator: Florencia Marchetti

At External Locations

Learning from...Chisasibi: Thomas Kneubühler and Ernest Webb

Candian Centre for Architecture, CCA

  • Thursday, October 25, 7 p.m.

FOFA Gallery exhibiting artist, Thomas Kneubühler, is participating in a conversatoin with filmmaker Ernest Webb, that takes place at the CCA. The conversation will be moderated by Alessandra Ponte. 

For more information on this event, please click here.

From MacLaren to Woloshen: A Journey of Animation Without a Camera

Cinémathèque québécoise, Salle Claude Jutra, 335, boul. De Maisonneuve Est Montréal, Métro Berri-UQAM

  • Friday, November 30, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 2, 1:00–2:30 p.m.

This retrospective was first screened at Lille's "Fete de L'anim in March of 2012". Essentially, its' Curator, Marcel Jean describes this program as "a path that goes Norman McLaren, a pioneer of (scratching) and drawing on film, Steven Woloshen, who today, continues the tradition of animation without camera. On this journey full of surprises, a few meetings with key figures of experimental animation in Quebec (translation)." Since the first screening, the program was updated and now includes the works of Karl Lemieux, Marie Josee Saint - Pierre, Chris Hinton and many other Contemporary figures on Quebec experimental animation scene.


We are immensley grateful to the artists who demonstrated such trust in the development of this project and allowed us access to their works at a tender and intimate level. We offer exceptional gratitude to the production and gallery teams who, as always, go beyond expectations in delivering innovative programming in a spirit of camaraderie that both moves and sustains us. Dr. Anne Whitelaw, Art History Faculty member and UAAC Vice-President, has been a generous and affecting colleague. The supports - moral, intellectual, and fiscal - offered by her and her team have been germinal to this project and resonate throughout it. Lastly, the curators and FOFA Gallery wish to thank the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University for their financial contribution to the project.

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